The body positivity movement founded in 1996, has been one of the best movements to help women. The movement encourages women to accept their bodies while improving health and well-being. The movement, growing in popularity, has become an anthem to the plus-sized community. Since the age of super modeling, only slender women have been given the platform. Things have changed, famous plus-size model Ashley Graham has made waves. Graham, a body positivity advocate, is tearing down the idea of big women cannot be sexy. Women who are full-figured are sexy, they can wear lingerie and bikinis, this is the revolution.
I'm sorry to burst your bubble but women's bodies in the media have never been about women's empowerment. It has been about aesthetics and sexuality. People have killed to be thin. Bigger women are embracing their bodies, wearing whatever they want. These attitudes are challenging the traditional standard of beauty. What had started out as radical love for one's body has been diluted and reduced to shallowness adopting negative attitudes toward exercise. As a fitness advocate, the body positivity movement isn't fighting for health or equality it is fighting for the crown of attractiveness.
On social media, the body positivity movement has become political. Women are sick of conforming and are sick of the ridicule for not having the perfect body, so they should be. But what about health? The movement is promoting a sedentary lifestyle. Tessa Holiday, the world's first size 22 model and the founder of #effyourbeautystandards campaign, is well known for her ideas about body confidence. In the past, she has tweeted:
“If you want someone to preach health over self-love, I'm not your girl."
Tweets and thoughts like these are alarming. What is the end message? Shouldn't self-love correlate to health? Where is the line between body confidence and obesity? Media plays a powerful influence in acceptance, normalizing obesity, when in fact obesity is a disease as well as an epidemic. Overweight and obese people are at a higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Yes, skinny people can be unhealthy, but their risk is dramatically lower. For one, we have to stop associating skinny as healthy, you can be skinny and have unhealthy eating habits. It seems confidence and this self-love talk is going to people's heads.
In the US, two-thirds of women are overweight. I have family members struggling with diseases associated with their weight, it's not pretty. I have seen children in my church struggle to stand while begging for food. Normalizing obesity is a problem! Are advocates of this movement in denial? Are they too focused on peoples' opinions? The message we are sending to young women and girls are radical. The pressure to be thin has been replaced with “it is OK to be obese." Neither one is correct. When can healthy be sexy? When will we normalize health?
This new radical ideology from the body positivity campaign is the result of fat-shaming. Celebrities like Rihanna and Katy Perry have been fat-shamed. Fat-shaming is everywhere and it is unnecessary. Skinny and fit people need to back off for a minute with chastisement and encourage those that aren't fit. People know what they look like, let's leave it to the doctors and medical professionals to criticize. Our bodies are complex, some people cannot lose or gain weight. At the end of the day, if you love yourself, you will love others.
Unconditional love for yourself will result in living life in the best condition. I'm not saying women in the body positivity movement aren't healthy, some are. I'm saying we should have people in the movement telling you healthy is better than sexy. We don't need people giving the finger towards health! As we get older, our bodies slow down. Excessive weight puts unwanted pressure on our heart and internal organs, causing pain and joint immobility. Role models in the movement are responsible for bringing awareness to health, because what woman wearing over a size 10 wants to hear a woman who is a size 6 telling her about health.
Let's get one thing straight, beauty standards are a fantasy. Women bodies are distorted images playing on the insecurities of women. We are constantly focusing on society, how society sees me, will society accept me. Fuck that and focus on health and yourself. I have struggled with body issues too. My body frame is large and muscular, I have strong thighs and a wide back. I have overcome my struggles with tons emphasize on a ton of self-help, eating healthy, and focusing on how I feel when I eat.
Even though I am athletic, I have been called fat plenty of times in my life. What I would like to see is the body positive movement be accessible to everyone having a struggle. Diversify the moment include women of color, men, burn victims, trans women. After all the goal is intersectionality. I want to see full-figured women wearing bikinis in commercials playing sports. I want to see big women on BuzzFeed being active and eating healthy. I want to see clothing stores have clothes for those who are awkward and in between small and plus-sized. Can we normalize health, please! I want to see positive body positive images. Our bodies are strong and healthy. The message is you can achieve confidence while striving for your health.